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ArribaAbajoStructural and linguistic presentation in Galdós' Ángel Guerra

Jennifer Lowe

The various stages of Angel Guerra's spiritual development and the maturing of his personality have been charted and interpreted by several critics. S. H. Eoff presents a detailed analysis of the growth and adjustment of Angel's psyche.77 The nature of his belief is discussed by Ricardo Gullón78 and the factors likely to affect his behavioural pattern are considered by Francisco Ruiz Ramón.79 More recently, Monroe Hafter has indicated some of the significant parallelisms and verbal repetition in the novel80 and Kathleen Sayers has commented on its sentido de la tragedia.81 An illuminating attempt to interpret aspects of the novel in the light of Tolstoy's teaching on religion and society is provided by Vera Colin.82 In this paper I intend to examine first the novel's structure, explicit and implicit, and secondly Galdós' presentation of specific topics and episodes. This will, I hope, add to our understanding of the complexities of Ángel Guerra.

In common with a large proportion of the «Novelas Contemporáneas» Ángel Guerra is divided into parts: in this case three, of virtually equal length. This organisation of the fictional material provides the novel with a visible, external structure. I wish to show that there is also a much more subtle internal structure which can be deduced from a careful reading of the novel.

Our first encounter with Ángel is as he arrives wounded, in the early hours of the morning, at the house of his mistress Dulce. He is faint, swearing and blaspheming (1201).83 Persuaded to go to bed by Dulce he lies there enjoying being mothered by her but periodically becoming agitated by his recollections of the uprising or because of the irksome buzzing of a bee. Wounded, defeated, his eyes are opened to reality: «¡Desengaño como éste...! Paréceme que despierto de un sueño de presunción, credulidad y tontería, y que me reconozco haber sido en este sueño persona distinta de lo que soy ahora... Total, que aquí me tienes estrellado, al fin de una carrera vertiginosa...; golpe tremendo contra la realidad... Abro los ojos y me encuentro hecho una tortilla; pero soy una tortilla que empieza a ver claro» (1204). This opening situation is inevitably recalled by the events at the end of the novel. Wounded, after being attacked by Policarpo and Fausto, Ángel is again placed on a bed. On this occasion he is in his own house and is attended by Leré. Once more the wound triggers off a realisation of his errors: «El golpe que he recibido de la realidad, al paso que me ha hecho ver las estrellas, me aclara el juicio y me lo pone como un sol» (1530). He also proclaims: «Paréceme que despierto ahora; que toda esta vida mía toledana es sueño... El tiempo ha dado mil vueltas; tú [Leré] también cambiaste. Yo soy el que me encuentro ahora semejante al de entonces» (1530). The occurrence of the words golpe, realidad, estrellado/estrellas, paréceme, despierto, sueño as well as similar ideas in these two crucial incidents forges a strong link between them.


The title of Chapter 1 is Desengañado, that of the last, Final. It is significant that they are virtually interchangeable. Immediately prior to his death Ángel is in bed, wounded, disillusioned, tended by the woman he loves but to whom he is not married: to all appearances he is back where he started and the novel thus acquires a rudimentary circular structure. I believe that Galdós presents these situational similarities in order to encourage the reader to compare the two Ángel Guerras and consequently to consider the extent to which Ángel may have changed in the course of the novel. We must now examine the way in which Galdós presents some of the topics which recur in the book.

The first of these concerns revolution and society. The rapid disappearance of Angel's revolutionary ideals after his defeat has already been noted. When he returns to the family home his former activities appear even more remote. He tells Braulio: «Mi maldad no es maldad, es fanatismo, enfermedad del espíritu que ciega el entendimiento y dispara la voluntad... Mi fanatismo ha sido más fuerte que yo» (1232). He imagines that part of his stern mother's criticism of his behaviour will include a reference to his desire to «reformar la sociedad y volverlo todo del revés» (1236). Later, meditating on his relationship with his mother, he feels it would be accurate to say: Soy revolucionario por el odio que tomé al medio en que me criaste, y a las infinitas trabas que poner querías a mi pensamiento» (1251). This idea is continued in a later conversation with Leré but he also refers to his genuine desire to reform society, to overthrow obsolete practices and organisations and create a new society. Although aware of the magnitude of this task he felt that one should persist «acometiendo la parte de reforma que se pudiera, fiando al tiempo y al esfuerzo de las generaciones lo demás» (1270). During the illness of his daughter Ción Ángel tries desperately to bargain for her life: Señor, sálvese mi hija, sálvese a costa de Dulce y de toda mi familia y de todo el género humano» (1275). Newly arrived in Toledo he is soon immersed in the age-old peace of the town and «a excepción de los pocos muertos y vivos que interesaban... a su corazón, toda la Humanidad le iba siendo cada día más antipática» (1344). Thus we are shown quite clearly two instances in which Angel's attitude to mankind is one of hostility. However, an important change soon occurs for, in the isolation of his cigarral, Ángel realises that in order to imitate Leré as closely as possible «la vida nueva no debía concretarse sólo a la contemplación sino propender también a fines positivos, socorriendo la miseria humana y practicando las obras de misericordia» (1362). This presents a problem: «Compaginar el aislamiento con la beneficencia y ser al propio tiempo amparador de la Humanidad y solitario huésped de aquellos peñascales» (1362). It is obvious that this charitable approach to society is developed as a means to an end. He seems to feel he can opt out of society while working on its behalf: «Que la sociedad se arreglase como quisiera y como pudiera. Ya no tendría con ella más conexiones que las indispensables para recoger en su seno corrompido las miserias que reclaman socorro» (1372). With the intensification of his devotion which is a result of his growing love for Leré, comes a still more fervent desire to serve humanity: «El Crucificado... le despertaba el humanitarismo ecualitario con fines de reforma social y... le infundía vigor y alientos para la lucha en pro de la perfección humana» (1393-1394). The key-words reforma social and lucha remind us of the Angel in Book I and we recall, too, the now ironic statement: «Reíase... [Ángel]   —47→   del afán que en tiempos no lejanos había sentido él por trastornar la sociedad» (1338).

Not long after finding «toda la Humanidad... cada día más antipática» (1344) Ángel has conceived «un desatinado amor a la Humanidad» (1481). He comes to believe that «practicadas las obras de misericordia... puede venir una grande y verdadera revolución social» (1513). He forgets his former awareness that the individual should tackle la parte de reforma que se pudiera» (1270) and plans everything on a grandiose scale. Just as he had previously thought of reorganising society so now he plans to restructure the Spanish Church. His friend and adviser Casado comes to the conclusion that Ángel «con toda su vocación religiosa y su misticismo no ha dejado de ser tan revolucionario como cuando se desvivía por alterar el orden público» (1515). He repeats this idea in his comment: «Quiere ser asceta, y sin pensarlo, cátate revolucionario» (1514). Casado is thus implying that despite all the apparent changes Ángel is basically the same. We recall, too, the cynical comment of Dulce when Ángel parted from her: «No has caído en la cuenta de que es cosa muy ridícula pasar de lo revolucionario a lo eclesiástico» (1927). She considered the change had already taken place. We see that, ironically, it never really materialises.

On his deathbed Ángel claims that one sound benefit has emerged from his delusion: «el amor, si iniciado como sentimento exclusivo y personal, extendido luego a toda la Humanidad» (1531). He feels he can confidently say: «No voy como un hijo pródigo que ha disipado su patrimonio» (1531). The first part of the novel is again recalled to us here since the chapter containing Angel's homecoming was entitled «La vuelta del hijo pródigo».

Ángel is twice a revolutionary and in each case his attempted revolution fails. His fluctuating attitude to «la Humanidad» and his recurring views on the need to reform society provide important clues to an assessment of his behaviour. Equally important is an analysis of his attitude to the Church and its teachings. In this respect the first impression created of Ángel is again noteworthy. He blasphemes readily and speaks flippantly of the fact that he has forgotten all the prayers he once knew (1212). The serene and devout attitude of Leré soon intrigues him and although admitting he does not share her beliefs he expresses his admiration for her. As his curiosity about her grows so does his attraction to her and then «moralmente le cautivaba, no sin que descubriera cada día en ella encantos físicos hasta entonces mal observados» (1263). She continues «por lo moral y por lo que no es moral... despertando en él sensaciones y anhelos diversos, que en breve tiempo pasaban de lo más a lo menos espiritual, y viceversa» (1266). His discovery of Leré's ascetic practices annoys him: «el mistiticismo aquel le sabía mal porque habiendo sido espuela convertiase en freno de sus deseos» (1286). Galdós has made abundantly clear to the reader the simultaneous birth in Ángel of love for Leré and an interest in religion. Moreover, he indicates on numerous occasions the strength of the passion that Ángel has for Leré. (See for example, p. 1293)

Love of Leré does not effect any instantaneous conversion in Ángel. His ideas on sin and forgiveness are heretical (1271) and his attempt to bargain with God for Ción's life is naive and irreligious (1275). His anguish during her illness is followed by a suprisingly calm reaction to her death. But Galdós emphasises that «su aspecto era el de resignación más bien filosófica que religiosa...   —48→   resignación en que entraban por algo el amor propio y la dignidad de varón fuerte» (1277). Ángel shows a mixture of acquiescence and resistance to Leré's advise and recommendations. His inability to understand both Leré and the true nature of religion is illustrated by his attempt to bribe her to stay by the promise of a private chapel. Such is his eagerness to win her that he even feels there is the possibility of his becoming a monk in order to remain near her (1293).

In Book II, calmed by the atmosphere of Toledo and knowledge of the proximity of Leré, Ángel acquires the habit of going to early Mass. Galdós lists his motives: «No era que a él le entrasen ganas de oír misa; pero le encantaba la impresión fresca y estimulante de madrugar, y miraba con simpatía a las pobres mujeres que... se metían en las iglesias. Allá se colaba también él, movido del dilettantismo artístico y de cierta curiosidad religiosa, ligeramente estimulada por pruritos de vida espiritual» (1314). He frequents the churches attached to convents and «multitud de misas pasaban por delante de sus ojos todas las mañanas» (1314). The peace and quiet of these churches is what «más le enamoraba». The verb is significant. After a chance encounter in the street with Leré «maravillóse de sorprender en sí tentaciones vagas de poner alguna mayor atención en el culto, casi, casi de practicarlo» (1321). Such is the insight provided by Galdós into Ángel's dependence on Leré that we, the readers, do not share his surprise. As for Ángel himself «ignoraba si aquel prurito suyo de probar las dulzuras de la piedad obedecía a un fenómeno de emoción estética o de emoción religiosa, y sin meterse en análisis, aceptábalo como un bien» (1321). The possibility of Leré as a cause does not occur to him.

Ángel's own analysis of his spiritual progress is revealing: «Reconoció que en los comienzos el culto sólo hablaba a sus ojos y oídos; pero también hubo de notar que no tardaba en herir las fibras del sentimiento, tendiendo a invadir poco a poco los espacios de la razón» (1393). We are immediately informed that his devotions occur most spontaneously before a figure of the Virgin while those made «con los ojos puestos en alguna efigie del sexo masculino no le salían bien» (1393). The humorous expression underlines the amazing fact that Ángel continues to be ignorant of the real source and object of his devotion. Yet «la fascinación [de Leré] ganaba cada día mayores espacios en su alma» (1395). The repetition of espacios reminds us of the three stages of his spiritual progress. Significantly no mention of his alma was made then.

Choice of words is again revealing when Ángel tells Casado of his religious convictions: «He tomado gran afición al ritual católico; me enamoran, me seducen los actos religiosos... ¿Será esto... dilettantismo, delirio estético y amor de la forma? No lo sé. Pero sea lo que quiera, adoro el simbolismo del culto y quiero ser artista de él... la rúbrica me hace amar el dogma» (1459). Once again Galdós is reminding us simultaneously of the stimulus for Ángel's religious fervour and his ignorance of it. Juan Casado is convinced that Ángel's religious fervour is produced by his love for Leré (1434). Ángel repeats these ideas to Leré and comments: «Yo le contesté que mi pasión mística había tenido quizá el origen que él decía; pero que ya, transvasada enteramente, era puro amor de las cosas divinas» (1447). His blindness will continue until he is at the point of death.

Ángel's development in Book III is dominated by his concept of dominismo.   —49→   Particular emphasis is given to his attempt to imitate Christ by his adoption of a Biblical style of language. This, in itself, is indicative of his tendency to interpret and imitate Christ's behaviour literally. The gap between his expressed idealistic aims and the real subconscious motivation becomes progressively more apparent to the reader. In order fully to understand this and, in particular, the final stages of Ángel's career, we must now examine the information Galdós gives us about his basic character.

As we saw earlier the opening scenes indicate how swiftly Ángel can be aroused and excited. When in his mother's house he is easily irritated and annoyed by criticism. The use of physical violence is not alien to him as is shown when he attacks his father-in-law. His first lesson on pacifism from Leré occurs not long after this incident. In our consideration of the development of this facet of Ángel's behaviour we should keep in mind his comment: «El carácter, el temperamento existen por sí; pero la voluntad es la proyección de lo de fuera en lo de dentro» (1265). Ángel's ability to curb his anger is very variable. Although he succeeds in remaining calm when Dulce describes Leré in terms he finds objectionable, his reactions to later criticism from Arístides, Dulce's brother, are much more complex. Ángel at first refuses to talk to Arístides and pushes him aside believing he has thus ended the matter. The push, harmless though it is, points to Ángel's inherent confidence in physical force as a means of resolving problems. But Arístides pursues him, repeats his accusations and demands compensation on Dulce's behalf. «El carácter autoritario, despótico y algo insolente de Ángel estalló al fin, manifestándose primero en una carcajada, después con... expresiones zumbonas y provocativas» (1379). Ángel's violence is at first purely verbal but as Arístides becomes more menacing, then Ángel «ciego de ira» increases his abuse and finally floors Arístides, subjecting him to physical and verbal attack. For «ebrio de furor, ángel obedecía a un ciego instinto de destrucción vengativa que anidaba en su alma y que en mucho tiempo no había salido al exterior, por lo cual rechinaba más, como espadón enmohecido al despegarse de la vaina roñosa. El temperamento bravo y altanero resurgía en él, llevándose por delante, como huracán impetuoso, las ideas nuevas...» (1379). Galdós has very carefully shown us, through his choice of verbs and adjectives, that at this point no change has occurred in Ángel's temperament. Of particular importance is the fact that his anger is all the more violent because it has been suppressed for some time.

Convinced that he has killed Arístides his first reaction is to seek safety in flight. He vacillates and then leaves «impulsado de un egoísmo tan ciego y tan fuerte como antes lo fue su encono» (1379). It is not fortuitous that Galdós three times uses the adjective ciego in this episode. The idea is repeated in Ángel's comment on his behaviour: «¡Qué bruto soy! Cegarme así... ¡Qué dirá ella cuando lo sepa! Acción impropia de un creyente, de un cristiano... ¡Vaya un amor al prójimo, vaya una caridad!» (1379). The concept of blindness will receive its full meaning in the closing scenes of the book when Ángel exclaims to Leré: «Gracias a ti, el que vivió en la ceguedad muere creyente» (1531). Further, the recorded order of his reactions to his behaviour is revealing. He thinks first of himself, then of Leré and lastly of the rapport, between his conduct and the Christian life. Leré herself comes to the depressing conclusion that «el carácter, el temperamento no se pueden reformar. La razón manda mucha fuerza,   —50→   la piedad y la fe más todavía; pero las tres juntas no pueden variar la naturaleza de las cosas» (1383). The best that can be achieved is subordination by means of the will. This is the first but essential step on the road to salvation. This is Leré's advice yet we are told that Ángel has already surrendered this same will to her. She tells him he must ask for Arístides' forgiveness -an action involving the sacrifice of his amor propio (1384).

When Ángel eventually meets Arístides it is, ironically, the latter who takes the initiative and calls a truce. Moreover, Ángel's attitude prior to Arístides' gesture, however hypocritical, is simply to «callar como un muerto si le soltaba recriminación o injuriosa reticencia» (1398). It is only after Arístides' overture that Ángel, taking advantage of his friendly attitude, admits his own guilt and adds «te ruego que me perdones». But «creyó por un instante que las últimas palabras se le atascaban, rebeldes a salir de sus labios; pero con un ligero empuje salieron» (1398). We have no indication that Ángel's opinion of Arístides as a «mal hombre» (1384) has in any way changed. Ángel has simply mouthed the required verbal formula.

Under Leré's persuasive supervision Ángel's behaviour and attitude to his fellows do ostensibly improve. However we are aware that this improvement is an abstract quality which must be tested in and by reality in order to be proved valid. An opportunity for this comes with another visit to the Babel family. Patiently Ángel undergoes mocking interrogation and comment from Dulce and her mother. The arrival of Arístides produces an increase in the taunts but Ángel «se había propuesto humillarse, y se humillaba» (1409). A change of subject allows him to relax but when Arístides renews his scorn Ángel has to reply «enfrenándose» (1409). The paradoxical point is reached when «Guerra ya no podía más; pero su propósito de no alterarse, de sufrir, era tan fuerte y poderoso, que... se salvó del peligro de la ira» (1409). We are made fully aware that he is able to control himself as a result of an almost externally imposed pressure. Dulce realises he cannot be provoked and tells Arístides and Fausto: «¿no ves que no quiere reñir con vosotros, que no reñirá aunque le llaméis perro judío? Dejadle... Es hombre muerto» (1410). And so «el hombre muerto salió... Iba decidido hasta a dejarse pegar, o por lo menos hasta sostenerse frente a tal canalla en la actitud más pasiva que posible fuera dentro de lo humano... Salió a la calle, contento de si mismo, orgulloso de aquella grande y decisiva victoria sobre su enemigo mayor: su carácter» (1410). Clearly, Ángel has succeeded in restraining himself and, consequently, has made some progress. However, there must be some reservations about his «victory». He has remained outwardly impassive but inwardly he is angry and full of scorn for «tal canalla». He is justifiably proud of his restraint: but pride is not compatible with humility. The categorical nature of the term decisiva is calculated to arouse the reader's suspicions. Whether it is intended as Ángel's own assessment of his achievement or whether it is meant as an authorial comment on the situation, it seems to invite later ironic contradiction. The implications of the epithet «hombre muerto» are also significant. Linking this with Arístides' mocking «Abur, maestro. Acuérdate de mí cuando estés en el Paraíso» (1410), Monroe Hafter considers that the reference thus assimilates Ángel to Christ.84 It is ironic that this figurative death is equated with victory over his «character» for it is this same «character» which will later precipitate his actual death. A meaningful corollary to   —51→   this incident is provided almost immediately by Ángel's violent reaction to the slanderous rumours about Leré. He utters threats, is eager for revenge and, indeed, is in a state of almost uncontrollable fury. A clear contrast is provided by the calm tolerance of Leré herself. The «grande y decisiva victoria» now seems even less convincing. Again, later, when objecting to Casado's suggestion that he undergo the normal training and discipline required for the priesthood «su mal domado carácter dio un brinco» (1429).

Another sequence of events and reactions tells us still more about the inner conflicts of Ángel. With the prospect of entry into the priesthood now imminent he sees it from rather an egocentric point of view as «el más hermoso... el más adecuado a las ansias de su espíritu» (1475). During the emotive Holy Week services he comes to a greater awareness of the meaning of priesthood and even considers himself worthy of it (1482). Then, he hears the news of Zacarías' threats to Leré and «apretaba los puños y mascaba con nerviosa fuerza» (1483). He regains his calm as he listens to the preacher reiterating Christ's command to love one's enemies. Ángel is in a dilemma. If Christ allowed Judas to kiss him and reproved his disciples for drawing their swords then «¿qué remedio quedaba más que perdonar al cafre de Zacarías, fuera quien fuese?» (1483). We have here yet again the combination of reasoned acceptance of Christ's commands and an inherent personal attitude of scorn. Action of any sort with regard to Zacarías is prevented when Ángel gets lost in a storm while returning to the Asilo. The allegorical nature and significance of this episode have frequently ben discussed. Other aspects are equally important. In this nightmarish situation the pet goat Ángel is pursuing becomes transformed into leo y safiudo cabrón»(1484) and tramples on the fallen Ángel. Exhausted, he finally manages to exclaim: «Huye perro infame. No tentarás al hijo de tu Dios» (1485). Previously Casado had told him «¿Quién no ha sido tentado alguna vez? Sólo nuestro señor Jesucristo pudo decirle al pillo ese: 'Vade retro. No tentarás al Señor tu Dios'» (1459). The words recur in the final chapter of the novel when Ángel is being mocked and tempted by Arístides: «Terror de muerte llenaba su alma, y de la boca se le salían, las mismas expresiones angustiosas de la noche de marras: Huye, maldito, y no tientes al hijo de tu Dios» (1524). Arístides' only response is to continue his lewd remarks and Ángel «incapaz de reprimirse» (1524) reacts violently. Galdós is showing us not only how Leré continues to attract and tempt Ángel but also, prophetically, that however often he may repeat Christ's words, his «mal domado carácter» will only too readily take control of the situation.

The arrival of Arístides at Ángel's Asilo is clearly momentous. Two previous encounters with Arístides have been used to put Ángel's behaviour to the test and we therefore expect that his reappearance now will examine the validity of Ángel's idealistic theories. He treats Arístides with admirable friendliness and concern for his wellbeing. We notice, however, that he insists rather theatrically that Arístides sleep in his bed for «es el mayor gusto que me puedes dar» (1505). The underlyng personal motivation for his behaviour is thus glimpsed once again, Events move swiftly when Arístides is joined by the more agressive Fausto and Policarpo. The rapidly changing sequence of Ángel's actions and reactions is superbly presented by Galdós. For a brief moment Ángel apparently thinks he can dominate the situation with the power of his personality: «Ángel quiso imponerse con una mirada paternal, de conmiseración y reproche juntamente.   —52→   Pero aquel fugaz propósito pasó como chispa sin dejar rastro. Con desprecio y amargura les dijo...» (1525). The pseudo-Christ is replaced by the ordinary man. His attitude is described as «severamente despreciativa, como la resignación del ser superior insultado por sabandijas» (1525). This superiority is some thing felt by Ángel rather than an objective assessment of his character. Yet all the time he is a striving to «sostenerse en el temperamento seráfico del dominismo». His motives for this are, as so often, self-centred and un-Christian: «¡Qué hermosura, qué majestad ofrecerse indefenso a las injurias y al saqueo de semejante canalla! ¡Qué mérito tan extraordinario dejarse pisotear» (1525). He longs to remain passive and «proceder... ante los ultrajes, en perfecta imitación del Divino Jesús» (1525). Then, when he catches sight of Arístides' face «con expresión de traidora amistad... lo mismo fue ver aquella máscara que sacudir sale interiormente todo el mecanismo nervioso, y explotar la ira con crujido formidable. La manotada fue terrible» (1525). By clearly equating Arístides and Judas, Galdós deliberately places Ángel in a position akin to that of Christ at the point of betrayal. On previous occasions Ángel had realised that Christ's treatment of Judas was one he should follow (1483 and 1502). Now, in the actual situation, the theoretical ideal fails him. Thus it is Ángel, the professed pacifist, who initiates the physical violence. On numerous occasions Ángel has repeated his view that one should never kill; now he proclaims: «Os voy a matar..., no valéis nada para mí» (1526). Arístides' ingratiating hypocrisy again provokes Ángel. Unable even to speak he spits in the hated face. Galdós terms this action an ultraje thus recalling to us Ángel's earlier proud ideal «El o la que recibe algún ultraje... se aguanta y espera más» (1510). Now he himself has been the originator of such an ultraje. In Chapter I Ángel was described as blaspheming «como quien escupe fuerte» (1210). The image has now acquired a violent reality. More significantly, by spitting on Arístides Ángel is not merely acting in an un-Christian manner but is in fact presenting us with a vivid reversal of the episode in which Christ himself was spat upon just before his Crucifixion. Wounded by Policarpo, Ángel is soon at the point of death which, for him, is welcome: «Declaro alegrarme de que la muerte venga a destruir mi quimera del dominismo» (1531). However, we must not forget that when he was confronted by Arístides, Policarpo and Fausto, dominismo was still a viable reality for him. He acted contrary to ideals in which he still believed and, in deed, was the first to attack. K. M. Sayers is correct to say that his death comes «como una consecuencia de su naturaleza pasional y colérica».85 R. Gullón de scribes how the «old Ángel» «dominador y violento» reappears at the moment when his charity could have reached sublime heights. Ángel's death is produced by «su bondad y caridad, al choque con lo miserable humano».86 However, much of Ángel's «bondad y caridad» was a form of self-indulgence. V. Colin, interpreting the incident in the light of Tolstoy's beliefs, considers it shows Ángel's tardy realisation that wicked men do exist and that, since charity has proved ineffective, evil must be resisted by force.87 That Ángel is killed by members of the Babel family is yet another reminder to us that he has never completely broken off all connections with his life in Madrid. Further, it is because of his Asilo, the practical yet idealistic offshoot of his love for Leré, that the Babeles come to him. Finally, it is his ever-present though frequently suppressed anger   —53→   that precipitates his murder. The so-called hombre muerto is finally killed because his violence and passion had never really died.

In the course of this study I have tried to show some of the ways in which Galdós links the beginning and end of the story and how, because of a meaningful choice of words and the use of repetition and irony, the reader is continually forced to examine Ángel from a variety of viewpoints and formulate an opinion of him. In Ángel Guerra, as in so many of his novels, Galdós requires the reader to be a critic too.

University of Edinburgh

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